Treadmill Exercise before and during Pregnancy Improves Bone Deficits in Pregnant Growth Restricted Rats without the Exacerbated Effects of High Fat Diet

Kristina Anevska, Dayana Mahizir, Jessica F. Briffa, Andrew J. Jefferies, John D. Wark, Brian L. Grills, Rhys D. Brady, Stuart J. McDonald, Mary E. Wlodek, Tania Romano

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Growth restriction programs adult bone deficits and increases the risk of obesity, which may be exacerbated during pregnancy. We aimed to determine if high-fat feeding could exacerbate the bone deficits in pregnant growth restricted dams, and whether treadmill exercise would attenuate these deficits. Uteroplacental insufficiency was induced on embryonic day 18 (E18) in Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats using bilateral uterine vessel ligation (restricted) or sham (control) surgery. The F1 females consumed a standard or high-fat (HFD) diet from 5 weeks, commenced treadmill exercise at 16 weeks, and they were mated at 20 weeks. Femora and plasma from the pregnant dams were collected at post-mortem (E20) for peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), mechanical testing, histomorphometry, and plasma analysis. Sedentary restricted females had bone deficits compared to the controls, irrespective of diet, where such deficits were prevented with exercise. Osteocalcin increased in the sedentary restricted females compared to the control females. In the sedentary HFD females, osteocalcin was reduced and CTX-1 was increased, with increased peak force and bending stress compared to the chow females. Exercise that was initiated before and continued during pregnancy prevented bone deficits in the dams born growth restricted, whereas a HFD consumption had minimal bone effects. These findings further highlight the beneficial effects of exercise for individuals at risk of bone deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1236
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • bone
  • exercise
  • growth restriction
  • high-fat feeding
  • pregnancy

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